Star-Spangled Controversy

image of Beyoncé singing the National Anthem at the inaugural while President Obama is seen in the background with his hand over his heart

This is all I have to say on the "controversy" surrounding Beyoncé's performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the inaugural:

1. The "controversy" is some real racist and misogynist shit. If you don't believe me, ask yourself how many (straight, cis) white men have been accused of requesting they be whitewashed in adverts and on magazine covers, have been accused of faking their own reproduction, have been accused of lip-synching major performances (even when lip-synching is evident), have been accused of all manner of transgressions variously associated with inauthenticity? Identifying oppression is about pattern-spotting, and the pattern in criticisms of Beyoncé is obvious to all but those who refuse to see it.

2. To be filed in the Can't Win Files: If Beyoncé did lip-synch, for reasons having to do with the nature of outdoor performances on a grand scale, she's terrible. If she had chosen not to lip-synch, and had given a less than flawless performance, she'd be terrible. If, in fact, she did not lip-synch, and that was a live performance all her own, we congratulate her with a week of speculation about how she must have been lip-synching. I have a problem with this.

3. There is something deeply wrong with us that we feel owed some arbitrarily defined display of authenticity from anyone, no less a woman of color who is viciously judged in every aspect of her life, no matter in which way she elects to live it.

4. I love the conspiracy theorists' entire premise that I'm supposed to even care whether Beyoncé lip-synched to a track of herself singing. If she had recorded that in a studio a month ago with the best producer on the planet, I'd still be impressed because OH RIGHT Beyoncé is a great singer. The end.

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